Generations of scholars, tourists and armchair travellers have been intrigued by the puzzle of ancient Egypt's origins. Now, in the light of Toby Wilkinson's dramatic new discoveries, the genesis of the pharaohs is at last coming into focus. But the picture that emerges is not what we imagined. The ancestors of the pyramid-builders were not village-dwelling farmers, but wandering cattle-herders, and pharaonic civilization was forged in one of the most forbidding places on Earth: the Eastern Desert, between the Nile Valley and the Red Sea. Here, the pharaohs' distant ancestors left a stunning legacy that has remained hidden for 6,000 years: hundreds of intricate rock carvings in which the origins of later pharaonic imagery is clearly discernible. Toby Wilkinson traces the discovery of these ancient records, dates them, and identifies the artists who made them, basing his own discoveries in the heart of the Eastern Desert.
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(240mm x 168mm x 32mm)
Thames & Hudson Ltd
Publisher: Thames & Hudson Ltd
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UK Kirkus Review »
It's a question that has perturbed for a hundred years and more - just where did the ancient Egyptians come from? As often as not, attempts to provide an answer have been scuppered by the large gaps that invariably appear in the jigsaw. Unperturbed, enthusiastic and armed with fresh insight, Toby Wilkinson becomes the latest in a long line of archaeologists, scholars and adventurers to attempt to answer it, and to do so, he whisks the reader away to the inhospitable sands of that country's Eastern Desert. Early on, Wilkinson acknowledges his debts to men like Hans Winkler and David Rohl and the pioneering work they carried out respectively during the 1930s and 1990s. He retraced their steps himself in December 2000, seeking out the 6,000-year-old rock art that might well be the precursor to the classic Egyptian art familiar to so many of us. During the expedition he was delighted to come across some 30 sites containing previously undiscovered examples of these pictures, known as petroglyphs, and the stunning colour plates that illustrate this book show some of these in all their glory. The images of humans and animals and boats and stars were enough to captivate the intrepid Wilkinson just as they had captivated those Egyptologists who had been such sources of inspiration to him. More importantly, the ancient drawings convinced him that the time had come to rewrite the history of the Pharaohs. Intense media interest followed those revelations, leading ultimately to the publication of this book, which the author hopes will further increase interest in these dramatic discoveries. That he manages to convey his message in such a gripping story is testament indeed not only to Toby Wilkinson's obvious fascination with, and love for, the subject, but also to his undoubted skill as a writer. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Toby A. H. Wilkinson
Toby Wilkinson took a First Class degree in Egyptology from Cambridge University and is now a Fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge. He lectures widely on ancient Egypt and led the expedition to Egypt's Eastern Desert that gave rise to the discoveries in this book. His other publications include Early Dynastic Egypt.